Power Play

Justice Thomas Defends Wife's Lobbying Work as Dems Call for Health Law Recusal

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas defended his wife, and himself, during a speech in Virginia Saturday night, after a group of congressional Democrats called on him to recuse himself from any health care law cases due to his wife's political work. 

Thomas' wife Virginia, or Ginny, has worked for organizations that oppose the federal health care overhaul and recently started a lobbying firm that critics say will be used to promote the law's repeal. 

With federal judges across the country ruling on the constitutionality of the health care law, dozens of congressional Democrats wrote to the Supreme Court justice this month urging him to sit out any related cases that reach the high court. 

But at a symposium sponsored by the conservative Federalist Society, Thomas offered a robust defense of his wife, and identified personally with her views. 

"We love the same things. We believe in the same things," Thomas said, according to an audio recording obtained and released by Politico.com. He said both he and his wife are focused on "defending liberty." 

"I admire her and I love her for that," he said. 

In reference to his wife, Thomas said: "There is a price to pay today for standing in defense of your Constitution." 

Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., one of the Democratic lawmakers who signed the letter accusing Thomas of having a conflict of interest, afterward issued a statement reiterating their request. 

"This only confirms the need for Justice Thomas to recuse himself," Weiner said. "By declaring his support and shared views of his spouse, he adds to the perception that his mind is made up. He undermines confidence in our highest court."